You are being summoned to a journey that is unfolding in a divine dialogue, a dialogue that is meant to build your relationship with God, fulfilling the reason He brought you to life.
Relationship with God is the most delicious, fundamental reality imaginable. It is also the difference between life and death, meaning and meaninglessness, experiencing and not experiencing Him in your life. . . radiating His reality to the world around you. Every day is meant to strengthen the bond between you. . . creating inexpressible intimacy, advancing your capacity to trust and draw upon Him . . . fulfilling and expressing in you His original intent for all human being.
BUT how many “Christians” do you know who actually express this reality?
Relationship is the place where God’s presence, power and provision flow; it is the ground where everything that God wants to do and be for you takes place. And yet, as many “Christians” as fill the pews, many if not most, struggle to find the relationship which they hear so much about, but experience so little, if at all.
As God moves history forward, there are works He has prepared for you to walk in, challenges in which you will need His help, whose high stakes are not without risk. The greatest risk He has taken was giving you the freedom to determine the depth and quality of your relationship with Him, because that relationship is your most vital necessity. In the give and take of your relationship with Him, God anchors you in His reality and He strengthens you with His enabling power.
But how do you find the place where God’s provision flows?
I’m convinced that one of the reasons relationship with God eludes us is that we get locked in our souls instead of listening with our spirits. When this happens, we can’t find God, because it is our spirit, and not our soul, that has the ability to relate to God.
Psalm 100 tells us to, “Enter His gates with thanksgiving and His courts with praise,” giving thanks and worshipping Him. True worship and authentic gratitude spring from our spirit. When we move in our spirit, coming out from under the dominion of our soul, we find the place where God’s presence, power and provision flow.
Our Three-Part Nature
Scripture reveals that we have a three-part nature. . . spirit, soul, and body.
1 Thess 5:23
Now may the God of peace Himself sanctify you entirely; and may your spirit and soul and body be preserved complete, without blame at the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ.
There is a distinction between spirit and soul.
For the word of God is living and active and sharper than any two-edged sword, and piercing as far as to the division of soul and spirit
Our spirit is the inward core of our being, the part of our nature having the ability to relate to God. In our spirit we receive God’s Spirit, His truth, His words, His light.
God’s Spirit lighting our spirit enables us to “see” what our soul cannot. We see this in some of David’s psalms, where he spoke from his “enlightened” spirit to comfort his troubled soul, ministering hope to his own soul.
Why are you in despair, O my soul?
And why have you become disturbed within me?
Hope in God, for I shall again praise Him
For the help of His presence.
O my God, my soul is in despair within me;
Therefore I remember You . . .
Who is the “I” in this passage? “I” shall again praise Him . . . my soul is in despair within me; Therefore “I” remember You. David’s essential identity — his “I” — is himself, whole. Our essential identity is our “whole man” — which we only become, as our spirit comes into relationship with God and begins to care for and have authority over our soul.
Our whole man
–our spirit in relationship with God, taking authority over our soul–
is the only place where
we are going to truly experience
all that God wants to do and be for us.
As soul and spirit each take their place in this line of authority, the kinks are removed and God’s power flows unhindered. Like water to a dry landscape, life springs up in us: we become whole, healed, and who we are meant-to-be. In that unhindered flow, He works to bring about what He has always wanted to do and be for us. And we see it.
Our whole man, our essential self, is spirit, soul and body working together in beautiful orchestration under the dominion of God’s Spirit.
The soul is comprised of our mind, our will and our emotions. With our spirit we relate to God, but with our soul we relate to others and ourselves.
In Eden a death took place in our soul, cutting us off from life. Ever since, the voice of the soul has been fear. When fear rages, it’s your soul. When you’re fighting for control, it’s your soul feeling threatened. Our soul is bossy, and our soul rants. Alone, on its own — rather than under the authority of our spirit — our soul cannot hear God and is unable to see how God is leading. That soul is trusting only itself for its preservation, while cutting itself off from its supply. Strong souls have strong wills, strong minds and strong emotions. It is difficult for a strong soul to believe God, because it holds so tightly to its own mind-set, stubborn and unyielding. This is why strong souls have to sometimes be “broken” before they will yield to the spirit.
It is a paradox: the one who is blessed with amazing talent and attributes of a strong mind, will and emotions is going to feel increasingly comfortable operating from their soul’s strength . . . trusting that skill set more than those of his spirit, which is less exercised, less familiar, and less comfortable . . . putting that person at greater risk of finding the place where God’s provision flows. The blessing can become a curse.
Remember David lifting up his soul to God? Our spirit is more in touch with God, truth and reality than our soul. Our soul is like a lost, tormented, stubborn child — loved and sought by God — but blind and deaf. Our soul needs to be found, healed and redeemed.
He will redeem my soul . . .
Oh draw near to my soul and redeem it; Ransom me because of my enemies!
Return, O Lord, rescue my soul; Save me because of Your lovingkindness.
My brethren, if any among you strays from the truth and one turns him back, let him know that he who turns a sinner from the error of his way will save his soul from death
Another distinction in the interworking of our spirit and soul is this:
- Our spirit — in relationship with God — gives us our essential identity
- While, our soul — with its mind will and emotions — gives us our essential personality.
Together, in submission to the authority of God’s Spirit, our whole self radiates God’s aliveness.
The third part of our nature is our body, which clothes our soul and spirit . . . The body is the means by which we relate to the physical world around us. It is not meant to give us our identity, or to rule our personality, but to show forth the life that is burning within us.
What is keeping us from experiencing God’s power and provision?
If we are locked into our soul — limited to our mind, will and emotions and without benefit of our spirit’s unique ability to relate to God — when we seek God, we won’t be able to find relationship with Him. It’s simply not in the soul’s power to do.
Remember: the soul only believes and receives from God as it comes into submission to the authority of the spirit. Believing, hearing, being taught by God, being led by Him are all spiritual capacities that only the spirit can exercise and then bring into the soul.
I’ll finish with a short story that illustrates how our soul will fail us, when it comes to things only our spirit can do.
My precious husband was leaving for three days, and I was eager to use that time to create my manuscript’s outline. A chunk of time to be able to work without distraction was a gift.
With a hug and a kiss good-bye, I was diving into the project before he was out of the driveway . . . intoxicated with figuring out how the flow of the book would go. It was delicious; I was confident and thrilled. But three days later, exhausted and fruitless, with only a confused mess to show for my effort, I threw myself on God with hot tears.
In all honesty, I was struggling with anger and feelings of abandonment . . . God hadn’t been there for me, when I was doing this for Him! I had prayed and sought His help, and worked as hard as I could, but He hadn’t provided. And the harder I tried, the more lost I became in the quagmire.
Hadn’t He called me to this work? Hadn’t He given me all this material? Why would He abandon me right when I needed Him to help me organize it? And I had wasted all that precious time!
When my emotions quieted down, and I subdued myself, images of Jacob began to filter through my mind . . . Jacob, who always leaned on the carnal strength of his cunning to preserve and protect himself, to get what he wanted . . .
“Like Jacob, you have leaned on your own devices, within your power, drawing on your strength of “figuring things out.” ‘
This thought shot through me like a bullet. It was true. I have a knack for “figuring things out.”
But “figuring things out” is a strength of my mind. Those three days I had been operating out of my soul, my mind. I was “doing something for God”, but I was operating with confidence in my mind instead of dependence on His Spirit through my spirit.
Not by might nor by power, but by My Spirit,’ says the Lord of hosts.
Many Christians ache for a relationship with God that eludes them and wonder why they don’t experience God’s provision, power and presence . . . it is because they are trying to relate to Him from the wrong place in themselves.
Religion rooted in the soul is empty and fiercely disappointing, because it has no power, and it has no capacity to put you in touch with God when you need Him most.
We live, constantly processing a stream of either information or revelation.
- Information is helpful, even needful; our souls process information.
- But revelation is life-giving; only our spirits can process revelation. 
Revelation is suddenly seeing what God alone can show you. The Jacob lesson at the end of those three days was revelation. . . showing me an essential spiritual dynamic I had never grasped before. In that moment, His provision for me in the work He has called me to flowed. . .
But best of all, my doubt and hurt melted away as my beloved Teacher and I advanced on our journey together. . . as He took me farther forward than the best outline ever figured out could.
 This classic illustration was copied from an internet blog:
 The distinction between the spirit and the soul, and the difference between information and revelation has been taught to me by my beloved friend and teacher, Sue Webster. . . through whom God is continually instructing me.